Last year was yet another year that many of us are more than willing to view it in the rearview mirror without so much as a second thought. Like other nonprofits, Tell City Regional Arts (TCRA) experienced its own set of challenges in 2021 even beyond the coronavirus pandemic, as well as good ones.
TCRA recalls the grand opening as a team effort. This included the amazing enthusiasm and (unknown) energy our lead art instructor (Colleen Reed), the woodworking talents of our board president, the fundraising guru-ness of our VP (Tony Hollinden), and administrative and various other supports of our Secretary (Katie Pappano) and Treasurer (Tara Damin). While we all wanted to leave 2021 in the past, some of the pandemic’s restrictions are still alive and well. This meant an in-person art exhibit/grand opening would be difficult, if not impossible. So, the board made the decision to move forward. Let the sweat equity begin!
In 2021, TCRA took over an eclectic space in the old Swiss Plywood Building. While it was previously the location of a local dance studio, transforming it into an art space meant vision had to meet time, money, and labor. The space addressed all needs from art classes, a gallery, an art lounge, to separate theater and music rooms.
The idea of hosting a member’s meeting in the space was spot on! This gave them a first-hand look at the tasks ahead – cleaning, painting, building, and oh, did we mention cleaning? It invited the ‘where do I sign up’ attitude. A priority list and the commitment of many volunteers and board members were made.
To put this into perspective, we were not just tidying a space; it gained a complete overhaul. The walls received new paint and special touches to the restrooms were added by Colleen, which included a “wayfinding” sign, or so to speak. (You will have to see it for yourself). In the meantime, art supplies and three large-scale interior windows were obtained by a grant from the Perry County Community Foundation. But there’s more! We located a commercial sink through Facebook Marketplace and received an unbelievable amount of furniture from a local bank. The stars aligned and it rained generosity!
Outreach. All the while the cleaning and renovation activities were going on, so did our outreach. From theater camp to art classes, we did not miss a beat! Regardless of the pandemic, people wanted to get out and craft, paint, act, sing or play music, all while social distancing. It was tough for everyone, but to be around others changed that mantra.
During the renovation, Colleen also managed to find the time to conduct local art intake (approximately seventy pieces), which was very well orchestrated! (Um, I will have what she’s having! Talk about spunk!) She is one of many talents and we are so fortunate to have her! There were days you could walk into a vacant space to Tony and Katie moving loads of tables and chairs, or Pat building a bar the next. It all came together!
Grand Opening Day! Upon entry, guests grabbed a face mask, admired the window pieces that cast tinted sunlight throughout the gallery. As they turned back, a glance at the big screen TV was a photo loop of our past events. We wanted their experience to not only be welcoming but educate them on the importance of art and how they could be a part of it. The ribbon cutting began at noon, complete with food beverages. Exhibit boards were displayed throughout to thank our sponsors, and art exhibit brochures appeared to float throughout the gallery as guests studied the various-media art from local artists. Later that evening, our first theatric play by the Swiss Players to complete a remarkably successful day.
Since last year, the space has actively provided various forms of activities such as art classes; hosted birthday paint parties and monthly Coffee Haus music events, as well as produced a haunted house, a theatric play, our SWISSmas interactive event for kids, and now planning for the upcoming Harry Potter experience and Black & White Gala, with wine and jazz music.
What's in store? Our 2022 calendar is planned for the entire year, and we could not be more excited! Our member base continues to grow as does our outreach. However, we cannot do this without our amazing board, volunteers, members, event sponsors, and gracious donors.
Want to be a pART of something great? Contact us on Facebook or our website at www.tcregionalarts.com .